New wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria: WHO announces 25 new cases in Benue State

In the midst of the festive season, Benue State in Nigeria is facing a fresh COVID-19 outbreak that has sparked panic and concern among its residents. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 25 new cases were reported in Benue on December 12, 2023, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 2,345. This is the highest daily increase since the peak of the pandemic in July 2020, when Benue recorded 32 cases in a single day.

What caused the new outbreak?

The exact source of the new outbreak is still under investigation, but some experts have suggested that it could be linked to the emergence of a new variant of the coronavirus that has been detected in several countries, including Australia, South Korea, and France. This variant, known as Omicron, is believed to be more transmissible and potentially more resistant to vaccines than the previous variants.

Another possible factor is the low vaccination rate in Benue, which stands at only 12.7% of the eligible population as of December 10, 2023. This is far below the national average of 38.9% and the global target of 70%. The low uptake of vaccines in Benue has been attributed to various reasons, such as misinformation, hesitancy, and lack of access.

What can you do to stay safe and informed?

As the situation evolves, it is important to follow the official updates and advice from the NCDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other credible sources. You can also visit for more information and resources on COVID-19 and long COVID.

Here are some tips to help you prevent infection and protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Get vaccinated if you are eligible and have not done so yet. Vaccines are safe, effective, and free of charge.
  • Wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when you are in public or around people who are not from your household.
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters from others and avoid crowded and poorly ventilated places.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the used tissue safely.
  • If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell, stay at home and call the NCDC toll-free number 0800-970000-10 or your nearest health facility.
  • If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, self-isolate for 14 days and monitor your health.
  • If you have recovered from COVID-19, continue to follow the preventive measures and seek medical attention if you experience any long-term effects, such as fatigue, breathlessness, chest pain, or brain fog.

Remember, we are all in this together and we can overcome this challenge by being responsible, supportive, and hopeful. Stay safe and stay informed.

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